The term Rajputra first emerged as a title used by some of the rulers referring to their royal ancestors. The term was first used at the time of Harshavardhana and later by the Sena king Vijayasena, a Chahamana Chauhan officer named Jojal and by certain descendants of the Shahi clan of Kashmir. The term was used in inscriptions for the crown princes of the Kalachuri dynasty and by dynasties in Orissa, Bengal and Assam.
Any speculations as to the origins of the Rajputs has to be presaged with the caveat that in general, no single origin-theory can be held to be authoritative. The traditional occupations of the Rajput are war and agriculture. Many scholars have pointed out that these areas lend themselves uniquely to the ingress of groups that were not formerly affiliated with those professions. The gradual accommodation of the new entrants into the social and family circle of the traditional community is the essential quid pro quo of the sanskritization that the aspirant community essays. This phenomenon of gradual inclusion has indubitably obtained in the case of the Rajputs.
The Agni-kunda Legend
The Agni-kunda legend is the best-known traditional account that deals with the origin of the rajput Rajputs. This account begins with the puranic legend wherein the traditional kshatriya Kshatriyas of the land were exterminated by Parashurama, an avatara of Vishnu. Later, sage Vasishta performed a great Yagya or fire-sacrifice, to seek from the gods a provision for the defense of righteousness on earth. In answer to his prayer, one or more youths arose from the very flames of the sacrificial fire, according to different versions of the legend.
Sometime during 16-17th century, the legend came to be applied to the Pratiharas , Chauhans , Solankis , and Paramaras , Rahevars clans. The Gurjara-Pratiharas established the first royal Rajput kingdom in Marwar in southwestern Rajasthan in the 6th century 6th century, the Chauhans at Ajmer in central Rajasthan, the Solankis in Gujarat , and the Paramaras at Mount Abu. Evolution of the legendA large number of inscriptions and texts have come to light since the mid-19th century 19th century that allow us to trace the evolution of this legend in detail.
The Agnikunda story is first found in the Nava-sahasanka-charita by Padmagupta, a fictional romance where the hero is identifiable as Sindhuraja, the patron of the author Padmagupta. This work mentions that the progenitor of the Paramaras was created from fire by sage Vashishtha. During the period of decline of the Paramaras of Dhar, the story finds mention in several royal inscriptions. Later, the story is expanded to include two or three other Rajput clans. Eventually, some scholars proposed that all of the Rajputs were created from the Agnikunda.
Early Paramara Chronology
949 AD: First known Paramara copperplate Harsola copperplate. Mentions Paramara Siyaka as a feudatory of Rashtrakuta Akalavarsha. It mentions the Paramaras as being of the same clan ' as the Rashtrakutas.
975, 986 AD: Vakpati Munja assumes Rashtrakuta name Amoghavarsha and titles Srivallabha and Prathvivallabha, indicating that he regarded himself as being a succesor of the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta.
Thus, there is no mention of the Agnikunda legend in the early records; the Paramaras appear as a branch of Rashtrakutas, as proposed by D.C. Ganguli.
Gradual Evolution of the Myth
- 1005 AD: Padmagupta writes the fictional Navasahasanka-charita during the rule of the Parmar king Sindhuraj of Dhara. This is the first mention of the legend wherein the first Paramara is created from an Agnikinda by Vashista.
- 1000-1055 AD: Bhoja Bhoja no mention of Agnikunda in his copperplates or inscriptions.
- 1042 AD: Vasantgarh inscription mentiones Paramara origin from Agnikunda.
- 1070-1093 AD: Udayaditya, Udayapur prashasti mentions Paramara origin from Agnikunda.
- uncertain date: The Prathviraj Raso is composed, the oldest copies of which do not mention the Agnikunda legend. It is attributed to poet Chand who lived during the rule of Prithviraj Chauhan Prithviraj III , however the language of available manuscripts appears to be much more recent.Ain-i-Akbari by Abul Fazl mentions creation of a Dhanji from an Agnikunda, somewhere in the Deccan Deccan Plateau, to fight Buddhism Buddhism. That fire-born warrior goes to Malava and establishes his rule. When Puraraj, fifth in line from him, dies childless, a Paramara is selected to succeed him.
- 16th-17th century: Agnikunda legend inserted into the Prithviraj Raso, where three clans, Pratihar, Chalukya and Panwar, are mentions as having been created from the Agnikunda. The legend is not present in the Udaipur manuscript of 1585 CE.
- Uncertain date: Agnikunda legend in Bhavishya Purana. It mentions four clans: Paramara, Chauhan, Chalukya and Parihara, as having been created from fire to annihilate the Buddhists during the time of Ashoka.
- 1832 AD: James Tod presents his theory that the Agnikunda legend symbolizes the elevation of Sakas Indo-Scythians, etc. to the status of being Kshattriyas; by implication, all the Rajaputs are descendants of central Asian invaders.
- 1954 AD: Tod's view is repeated by A. L. Basham in his "The wonder that was India". By now, the view becomes accepted.
There are three schools of thought about the origin of the Paramara clan. The most widely accepted school of thought is that the Paramaras – along with the Chauhans, the Pratiharas (Parihars) and the Solankis (Chalukyas) – were one of the four Agni kula ("fire-born") clans of the Rajputs. In a second school of thought, the Parmar clan is said to have been a tribe of central India that rose to political prominence as the feudatory of the Rashtrakutas. In a third school of thought, the Parmar clan is said to have originally been an inseparable part of the Rashtrakutas, which later branched out from the Rashtrakutas (Rathore)and declared themselves to be a distinct Rajput clan.
Rathore (earlier known as Rastrakutas)
At Hathundi, in what was formerly the princely state of Jodhpur , 10th century inscriptions have been found mentioning kings Harivarma, Vidagdha, Mammata, Dhavala and Balaprasada, all of the Rashtrakuta dynasty. This is not in fact surprising, since the Rashtrakutas held sway over Marwar in that era. However, as we have seen above, the Rathores first emerge in Rajasthan shortly after that same era; therefore, there have been some recent efforts to impute to the Rathores a connection with the Rashtrakutas. The connection is tenuous to say the least, being based mainly upon the similarily of the two names; it is dismissed by historians as being fanciful. One can only await further research into this question.
The Solanki (from Chalukya, an ancient Indian dynasty) are a Hindu clan who ruled parts of western and central India between the 10th and 13th centuries AD. The Solanki are a branch of the Chalukya dynasty of whose oldest known area of residence was in present-day Karnataka. The Solanki clan-name is found within the Rajput and Gurjar communities.
Kalachuris ruled North Maharastra during 6th century AD , Pulikesin defeated them and made them feudataries of Chalukyan Empire. After the death of Harshavardhan vinayaditya defeated the successor to Harsha and annexed his kingdom , kalachuries were given charge of vindyas and north of Vindyas. They had martial relationships with other kannada dyansties like Rastrakuta, Chalukya, Solankis , Sena, Malla and pala dynasties. Ruling from the centre of India they are one of the major contributors to Rajput Clan.
The Rajputs did not originate as a tribe or a single community. They emerge from history as a collection of clans ruling different regions. The term Rajput as it is used today refers to the set of intermarrying royal clans mostly with karnata roots. Two lists of 36 clans are found in Kumarpala Charita and the Prithviraj Raso, apparently compiled in the Gujarat/Rajasthan region with its own historical claim to aristocratic Gurjara or Gujjar titles. But as History shows the Rajput are of Kannada origin to start with with Rastrakuta, Chalukya background, when they ruled Rajasthan, Gujarat and North India.